What is Ikat? Ikat is a precision dye technique that can create elaborate patterns in woven cloth. In ikat weaving, the design is done by careful dyeing of the warp and weft. First a design is drawn and the warp and weft threads are carefully measured, tied and placed in the dye solution. For fabric of different colours, the ties are removed and the warp is retied and dyed again to create layers of colour.
Ikat dyeing can be a very labourious process. Here are some other examples and photos of this method of creating patterns.
In India, sari fabric is woven of silk on frameless looms, taking as long as seven months to complete a sari. The ikat dye process is elaborate, taking up to a month to dye a warp.
The Khemara House in Cambodia trains women to run their own small business. Master weavers are passing on their traditional skills and teaching these women to spin and weave. In Cambodia, traditional dyes were used in the silk weaving. Yellow from the bror hut tree, red for an insect nest called Leak Khmer, black from ebony fruit and blue from indigo. Today chemical dyes are used instead.
In Indonesia both warp and weft Ikat have been developed to create complex textiles of ceremonial significance.
The International Ikat Weaving Forum 1999 brought together scholars and weavers internationally to exchange information about historical, cultural and artistic aspect of Ikat textiles. The impact of modernization on weaving culture is a concern. A revival in the use of natural dyes is being encouraged, training young weavers in the production of “eco-textiles”.
More about Ikat
Natural Dye Books
Wild Color, Revised and Updated Edition: The Complete Guide to Making and Using Natural Dyes
This comprehensive book outlines all the necessary equipment, how to select fibers and plant parts, choose the right methods for mordanting and dyeing, test color modifiers and the fastness of dyed colors, and obtain a range of gorgeous colors from every plant, from alter to woad, shown in more than 250 swatches.
UK: Wild Color
Eco Colour: Botanical Dyes for Beautiful Textiles
Using dyes of the leaves, roots, and flowers to color your cloth and yarn can be an amazing journey into botanical alchemy. In Eco Colour, artistic dyer and colorist India Flint teaches you how to cull and use this gentle and ecologically sustainable alternative to synthetic dyes.
UK: Eco Colour
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